SAG Awards: Screen Actors Guild honour The Trial of the Chicago 7

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe Trial of the Chicago 7 cast won the night's top prize

It was a big night for diversity at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, with actors from ethnic minorities winning all four individual film categories for the first time.

The 27th SAG Awards were held on Sunday as a virtual event.

Viola Davis, Youn Yuh-jung, Daniel Kaluuya and the late Chadwick Boseman all triumphed in their categories.

Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7 won best ensemble cast in a motion picture, making history for Netflix.

The ensemble prize is seen as the top honour at the SAG Awards, in the absence of a best picture category.

The Trial of The Chicago 7 retells the story of the notorious courtroom drama involving a largely unrelated assortment of political activists who were accused of inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The film stars Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne, Frank Langella, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, John Carroll Lynch and Alex Sharp.

Its win means Keaton sets a new record by becoming the first person to be part of three SAG-winning ensembles, following his wins as part of 2014's Birdman and 2015's Spotlight.

media captionWATCH: Taylor Simone Ledward accepted her late husband Chadwick Boseman's award for best actor

The SAG Awards are seen as a key indicator of which films and stars may come out on top at the Oscars, which will be presented later this month.

However, the favourite to win the best picture Oscar this year, Nomadland, was not nominated for the top prize at SAG, as it centres around one character (played by Frances McDormand) rather than an ensemble cast.

There was no red carpet to welcome nominees in Los Angeles this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the awards were pre-recorded via video conference and squeezed into a one-hour broadcast.

Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer in August last year at the age of 43, won best male actor for his performance as a Blues musician in the 1920s drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a film adapted from a cycle of plays by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, August Wilson.

media captionViola Davis, who stars in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, says Chadwick Boseman was an 'artist'

Boseman's final performance was honoured at Sunday's SAG awards, with his widow Taylor Simone Ledward delivering a moving speech as she accepted his posthumous prize.

"If you see the world unbalanced, be a crusader that pushes heavily on the seesaw of the mind," she said, quoting her late husband.

Viola Davis, who played the singer Ma Rainey in the film, won the award for best female actor in a leading role. Accepting the prize, she thanked "the beautiful Chadwick Boseman" and "August, for leaving a legacy to actors of colour that we can relish for the rest of our life."

Davis looked visibly shocked to win the prize. The best actress race is seen as wide open this year, with Carey Mulligan, Andra Day, Frances McDormand and Vanessa Kirby also in the running for the equivalent Oscar.

image copyrightReuters
image captionViola Davis appeared to almost fall off her chair when she was announced as the winner of best female actor

British star Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor for his performance in Judas and the Black Messiah. The film follows Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was killed in a co-ordinated raid by the FBI and Chicago Police in 1969.

Youn Yuh-jung was named best female supporting actor for her performance in Minari, a red-hot favourite of awards season.

She plays an unconventional grandmother in the film, which follows a Korean-American family who move to Arkansas as they chase the American Dream.

In the television categories, British actress Anya Taylor-Joy picked up best female actor in a miniseries for her performance in The Queen's Gambit, a seven-part drama about a chess prodigy.

The actress paid tribute to her fellow nominees in her acceptance speech and made light of the virtual ceremony.

"Thank you for your performances, I'm unbelievably honoured to be in this room, even though it's not a room, it's all mental, but you know what I mean," she joked.

image copyrightReuters
image captionAnya Taylor-Joy was recognised for her performance in chess drama The Queen's Gambit

The Crown was named best overall drama, while Gillian Anderson won best female drama actor for her performance as British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Schitt's Creek, which came to an end last year after six seasons, picked up best comedy series as well as best female comedy actor for Catherine O'Hara.

It rounds off a hugely successful year for the series and O'Hara in particular, who has won the same prize at the Emmys and the Golden Globes.

"Thank you to all who voted for us, what a way to say goodbye," said Dan Levy, who co-created and starred in the series.

Other TV category winners included Jason Bateman for Ozark, Jason Sudeikis for Ted Lasso, and Mark Ruffalo for I Know This Much Is True.

The winners in full

  • Cast in a motion picture - The Trial Of The Chicago 7
  • Male actor in a leading role - Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Female actor in a leading role - Viola Davis, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
  • Male actor in a supporting role - Daniel Kaluuya, Judas And The Black Messiah
  • Female actor in a supporting role - Youn Yuh-jung, Minari
  • Ensemble in a drama series - The Crown
  • Ensemble in a comedy series - Schitt's Creek
  • Male actor in a drama series - Jason Bateman, Ozark
  • Female actor in a drama series - Gillian Anderson, The Crown
  • Male actor in a comedy series - Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
  • Female actor in a comedy series - Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek
  • Male actor in a television movie or miniseries - Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True
  • Female actor in a television movie or miniseries - Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen's Gambit
  • Stunt ensemble in a motion picture - Wonder Woman 1984
  • Stunt ensemble in a comedy or drama series - The Mandalorian

The night in pictures

image copyrightReuters
image captionSchitt's Creek stars Sarah Levy, Dan Levy and Eugene Levy celebrate their win for best comedy series
image copyrightReuters
image captionTheir co-star Catherine O'Hara was named best female comedy actor
image copyrightReuters
image captionDame Helen Mirren, pictured preparing to announce the winner of best ensemble cast, which went to The Trial of the Chicago 7
image copyrightReuters
image captionDaniel Kaluuya paid tribute to Fred Hampton and Chadwick Boseman as he accepted the prize for best supporting actor
image copyrightReuters
image captionMinari star Youn Yuh-jung was named best supporting actress for her portrayal of an unconventional grandmother
image copyrightReuters
image captionCynthia Erivo presented the best supporting actor prize to Kaluuya
image copyrightReuters
image captionJason Sudeikis was named best comedy actor for his performance in Apple TV series Ted Lasso
image copyrightReuters
image captionGillian Anderson's portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Crown won her best female actor in the drama series
image copyrightReuters
image captionMark Ruffalo won best actor in a miniseries for I Know This Much Is True, which follows identical twin brothers and was based on the 1998 novel of the same name

More on this story